Wednesday, October 1, 2008

In Transition

Hi everyone. Sorry for the long absence. Back in early September, Owen and I split up and I moved out. I've got a great new apartment, but things are still a little unsettled as we approach the one month anniversary of tenancy.

Sorry to have left this blog fallow for so long. In advance of the move, I did get all the long boxes out of the house and they are currently in a safe, but undisclosed location. I have no worries for my comics' well-being...but sadly, they are not available for inspiration just lately.

As I finish getting the apartment painted and set up, I'll be bringing the long boxes home and then we'll be cooking with gas (I AM cooking with gas at this apartment, for the first time in years, actually).

Thanks for your patience with me. Meanwhile (heh heh...), please feel free to check out the other blog for progress on getting a new household and life set up and underway.

I hope you're having a super autumn!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Random Cover Friday

Green Lantern #63, June 1995.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympic Heroes

Batman and the Outsiders, #15. In 1984, the Games of the Summer Olympics were held in Los Angeles. The Soviet Union boycotted the games, but Maxie Zeus was there and brought no end of trouble for the Dark Knight and his pals.

Every four years, the world turns its attention to a gathering of athletes. They come from all over our little planet, representing all walks of life, all religions and pretty much every other way in which we humans can be different from one another.

And they come in peace. Sure, there's rivalry, competition...maybe even jealousy. But I always see the Olympics as a sign that the world is not such a bad place, that we really all can get along together if we make even the slightest effort.

And every time, summer or winter, for those two weeks, I trade in my favorite fictional heroes and bask in the accomplishment of these young athletes. They've spent their lives training to be there, to show the world what they are good at. And the results can be amazing. World records are broken, always. That means each time these (or similar) athletes gather, they are better than those who came before them. And these games have been going on for something like Ever now.

It's just incredible.

This year, we've got the talented and tasty super-wonder aquaman Michael Phelps and his new status as the Greatest Olympian Ever, now that he's won eight gold medals at these games alone.

And of course, choosing someone like him as a hero, for inspiration and encouragement in whatever you attempt, there's nothing wrong with that at all. Everybody loves a winner. There's no better model for success.

But heroes don't always win, as was obvious last night. Lolo Jones was the gold medal favorite for the 100 Meter Hurdles race in the women's track and field events. She'd overcome adversity with every step of her life and was poised to change it all with this win. (And I suspect she'd agree that in the process of trying, she did change all that.)

There she was, rabbiting toward her goal when she clipped the last hurdle and lost all her momentum...and the race.

"It's the hurdles," she said, afterwards. "You have to get over all 10. And if you can't, you're not meant to be the champion. Today, I was not meant to be the champion."

Jones' misfortune made gold for her US teammate, Dawn Harper, who was unknown in the field before and now suddenly wears the medal Jones had hoped for. This sort of story, too, is what the Olympics are made of.

The thing isn't the Winning or the Losing. Not in my book. The thing that inspires me, anyway, about all these Olympians, is that they go up against their personal demons, challenges and roadblocks and take the chance, having faith in themselves that they can better than they have ever been before and maybe better than anyone's ever been before.

That they go to the Olympics ever four years to try...that makes them heroes to me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

End That War!

You have to admire the golden-age Superman for his clear-headed thinking on the best way to end a war. If only he were here now to pick up a few people and put them in a ring together.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Just My Imagination...

I've always admired Bill Watterson for his ability to channel the memory of life through the eyes of an eight year old. The way summer seemed to stretch on for eternity with nothing to do...although really, the options for entertainment are nearly infinite at that age.

Much as I love video games and television, I feel bad for kids these days who don't seem to get the opportunity to play in their heads, to explore the fabulous and ever-changing world of Imagination, or to get out there and play in the natural world, discovering bugs and ooze and slime and all the other good and bad things that make Life so rich.

To my "grown-up" pals, I hope your summer's been a great one. And I hope you get the chance to channel your internal superhero sometime before Labor Day comes around again.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Vacation Doodle

Hey everyone! Sorry I've been MIA from this blogspot for so long. As usual, the Garden has been completely ruling my life. But you'll be happy (or disappointed) to know that I opted to stay home from a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight to make sure I got some posting done.

Nah, really, that's not entirely true: I only found out about the midnight show around 10 p.m., and there was little hope of my getting out of work in a timely manner to make the fantasy happen. I do plan to see it sometime very soon, though...I'm virtually a-tingle with anticipation.

So, Greg, I hear you asking, if you're not here to post a quick review of your film-going experience, why are you bothering with the blog? Well, my friends, as you may know, it's Doodle Week, as declared by Claire and Laura. Today's theme is Doodle Vacation, and I dug through my old journals and found a few things to suit the bill.

That up above was a late-night doodle anticipating a spring vacation (the bulb doesn't give that away, does it?) to Cape Cod back in 1994.

While I was away on that vacation, I did get to spend a little time one afternoon sitting by the harbor in Hyannis, where I sketched this lobster boat. I spent some serious time getting at least some of the details of the boat right, so perhaps it's more a full-on drawing than a doodle...but check the background. That is a totally doodled background.
Are you a doodler? There's still three days left to get involved. Check the link to see if you've got what it takes for the next days' themes.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

JSA: Critical Times

The year was 1978. Something called the DC Explosion was happening, as the number of titles the company published jumped exponentially. It didn't last long and was followed fairly quickly by the less-discussed DC Implosion. However, during this time, the JSA made a comeback in the pages of All Star Comics. Here's issue #74 from October.

Now, this was an interesting time for the JSA. The team primarily featured the older heroes, all of them seasoned on the American homefront of World War II. Three young-ins had recently joined the team: a grown-up Robin, Huntress, the daughter of a retired Batman and Power Girl, the E2 equivalent of Supergirl.

Here's those two young female heroes in a gratuitous faux lesbian moment, responding to a call from Dr. Fate through the JSA communicator.

Now, it had already been established that a "crisis" was a story that teamed up the JSA and the JLA, so that wasn't really an option here for this, a solid Earth-Two based tale of adventure and derring-do.

So what did they call it: The Critical Time.

A giant creature (drawn as one dimensionally as every other character by artist Joe Staton)named the Master Summoner contacts Hawkman and Dr. Fate, and advises them that a "critical time" is coming for the[ir] earth and that the Justice Society will be called upon in certain locations around the globe to ensure that the demise of the planet can be averted. Fate says "Critical Time."

The heroes are dispatched to various locations, with Green Lantern, Power Girl and Hawkman heading to the border of China and the USSR, where they break up a battle between forces of the opposing nations. Green Lantern says "critical time."

For the first time, we begin to suspect that the Master Summoner (who looks just a little like Darkseid, now that I think of it) may not be entirely on the up and up. But that's for later.

We turn our attention Huntress, The Flash and Dr. Fate, who've been directed to Montreal. Now this brings up an interesting moment. I'd always assumed the primary differences between Earths One and Two were when the first heroes emerged and formed their teams to make a difference in the world...and in a few notable cases, there were costume differences. And the Daily Planet was called the Daily Star.

But here we've got something different.

Yes, you read that right, on Earth Two, Quebec successfully broke off Canada to become an independent nation. This was a big movement in the 70s, but I didn't remember this difference between the two Earths...and it makes me wonder how else things might've been different there. They were just starting this sort of story exploring when the Implosion occurred, followed fairly shortly by the Crisis on Infinite Earths, which took away all those possibilities.

This would be an interesting subject to explore, if the current DC ends up giving the new Earth 2's Justice Society a mini-series or something. And naturally, if they do this, then I should be on record as saying they had darned well better have an Earth 2 version of Wonder Woman on the team somewhere.

Anyway, digression over: Huntress says "Critical time."

Suddenly, Fate gets a clue that each of these (can I say crises?)situations actually gets worse for the efforts of the Justice Society members. It becomes clear that the Master Summoner is actually harvesting the powers of the JSAers to use to ensure the demise of the planet...(it also becomes clear that poor color seperation and one dimensional artwork seemed to go hand-in-hand back then, but please note the fifty cent cover price)and Fate summons the heroes and calls them all to the JSA headquarters...and gets to say "Critical Time" again.

It turns out his big solution for their solving this "critical time" and defeating the Master Summoner is for the Justice Society to do absolutely nothing. Without their active powers to harness for his evil purposes, the MS shows up briefly to offer a sort of "Oh, what a world, beautiful wickedness, yada yada" speech before saying he'll be back to try again in another millenia and vanishes in a puff.

And thus the JSA averts this Critical Time, and sort of foreshadows the Crisis on Infinite Earths (albeit on a small scale, and nobody important dies), by doing nothing. It isn't clear in the story if they have to stand absolutely still, or if they can pop popcorn and play canasta or anything.

As a nice change of pace to the art (I hate to say too much negative, as I've enjoyed Joe Staton's work elsewhere...but this seems a bit rushed, like he whipped it off in a night or two) in the story, this issue also offers a two page centerfold advertisement for a Clark Bar Promotional Contest, the first prize of which was being drawn in an issue of your favorite super hero's comic. A dubious distinction, if Staton was doing the honors...but whatever.

This art, featuring the five primaries of the then-popular Super Friends is uncredited, but pretty styling. But does anyone else thing Wonder Woman looks like the most masculine of the bunch. Those sideburns might be just a little thick.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wonder Wednesday

Thought I'd tip you off to the five preview pages for Wonder Woman #20, over at Newsrama today. Another great story from Gail Simone, all new and fabulous art by Aaron Lopresti.

I love this scene with the wolves. When it started, I was worried it was going to be forgotten that she can communicate with them. Shame these guys didn't want to listen.

Interesting new look to Diana's togs, that's for sure. Metal panties seem a poor choice for the climate, though.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Well, big news for Batman fans yesterday, as the new trailer for this summer's The Dark Knight was released on the internet.

I'm not scooping anyone with it, but here it is just the same (MILD SPOILER WARNINGS for those of you too dense or uncaffeinated to figure that out):

F*ckin' awesome, no?

Yes, sure, you could people don't always seem to remember that Batman probably wouldn't have long guns mounted on the front of his steroid-infused Bat-cycle...considering his origins. But we are a gun-loving country, aren't we, so of course they want as many of those as possible in a summer blockbuster.

But look at that flying Batman sequence, hmmm?? Just fantastic.

Also, it's becoming clear that while the Joker has received much press from this movie, owing to Heath Ledger's brilliant performance and sad, untimely death, Two-Face is here in big part, as well. Played by the beautiful and talented Aaron Eckhardt, the transformation of half his face with the acid splash (or however they play it in the film) should be quite a dramatic one.

Fans of Batman Begins may note that Rachel Dawes is not played by Mrs. Cruise this time around, but otherwise, this might go unnoticed. We can only hope, however, that there's a Batman just off the ledge of that building Joker tosses her from.

For the record, the release date for this move is July 18th: Only 72 days away!!!

Can I get a squeee?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Off The Rails

If you're one of the big three heroes of DC's Trinity, then speeding locomotives can hardly make you break a sweat.

(And can I just point out: "64 pages of thrills"...for a f*cking dime!!)

But if you're the Golden Age Sandman and Sandy, even a loud truck can be a challenge!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Just KNEW It!!!

Today, the New York Daily News breaks the hot news that Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash, will be returning on the final page of today's release, DC Universe #0.

Of course, DC's been teasing us about this possibility for several years now. After all, the first Crisis (on Infinite Earths) took him away from us...(tho Marv Wolfman has admitted he built a fail-safe into the story so as to bring him back, if interest dictated) makes perfect sense that the impending Final Crisis might bring him back to us.

Newsarama's carrying the story as well, of course...but I have my dear Mom to thank for this tip!! Thanks, Mum, you're the greatest!!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Long Live The JLA!!

Check out this hot preview page from the upcoming DC Universe #0!!

I freely admit, I'm not quite up on my current artists in the DC stable. Is this Benes? I'm not sure. One way or another, I'm grooving on this image, which was released by DC this weekend, just in time for the NY Comic Con. If it is Benes, then I'm impressed at how everyone's bodies seem well proportioned, especially the women.

But I'm not here to be an art critic, only to drool over this image of what must be, again, retroactively...the original seven members of the JLA, along with the early Silver Age additions to that classic team. Looks like there'll be a history lesson for us in DC Universe #0. About time.

I'm not at the convention, and it'll probably be two years before I get my hands on the trade paperback for this and Final Crisis. But at least I have places to let my imagination run as I head back out to work in the garden.

Happy Earth Day! (Oh, and Happy Earth 2 Day, and Earth 3, and 4 and so on...!)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fortress of Servitude, Maybe...


I don't even know what to say about this cover, except maybe that I'm sorry it doesn't appear in my collection.

; )

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Look, Up in the Sky!

I can't believe I'd never seen this one before! It's a European ad, from 1997. Just love it. Always wondered what Batman did on a Friday night...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Great Krypton: Action #1 on Ebay!!

Here it is, the "mac-daddy" of all comic books right here...or maybe that's the great-grand-daddy...

Anyway, thought you'd like to know there's copy of Action Comics #1 currently inspiring bidding battle over at Ebay. For those of you who've been sleeping through all your lives, this 1938 comic book is the one that launched the famous Man of Steel himself, Superman.

The bidding started back on March 27th, so there's no danger of this being a sad April Fool's joke. The first bid was for $25, and I have no doubt that person wasn't passing out the bid URL. As of this morning, the high bid is $90,100 and there's still a day left before the auction closes.

So kids, grab your checkbooks and call your credit card companies to see just how much available credit you've got. Me, I don't think I could handle the responsibility...and plus, how much gasoline could this buy?

I can't help but wonder, do the Seigels have a copy of this already?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Super Fool!!

The Joker takes over Metropolis in Action Comics #714, from October 1995.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Extra!! Extra!! Seigel Family Regains Rights to Man of Steel

A federal judge in Los Angeles this week has ruled that the heirs of Jerome Seigel, one of the creators of our beloved Superman, have the right to claim a share of the United States copyright on the Superman character.

The New York Times has the story here, and you can be sure that Newsarama will have more of the details as they become available, particularly as to how this news may impact the Metropolis Marvel.

Thanks to Lili for the heads-up!!


I'll be back with a new post real soon!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Please Stand By

Thought I'd share a bit of bat-love with you in lieu of a few posts. Tonight's fine art comes courtesy Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley of 1986's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. How is that over 20 years old?

I'm afraid I must ask you to stand by, though. Our furnace/boiler's been possessed by Satan or Neron or summat, and leaking fuel oil ($) onto the floor. We've been catching it in buckets, but the fumes have been terrific. My computer, BTW, is right beside the door to the furnace room/death pit.

It seems repairs have taken nicely, but exorcism or some sort of cleansing ritual may still be required. So forgive me if I pass on huffing/posting while we sort out the rest.

Back soon.

Oh, but meanwhile... tonight I found a great new snack at the grocery...and while I'm receiving no remuneration or other compensation from DC or Betty Crocker or anyone else, I thought I'd share my findings here: Batman Fruit Flavored Snacks!

I saw the name and hey, you know Batman's a name you can trust.

They're actually pretty darned tasty, too. The green Joker's are quite limey, the little purple Batmen are grape, the Batmobile's a cherry red...and well, I'm not sure what flavor the white bats are...hard to say so far.

The other shapes/colors weren't in my first pack, which are conveniently sized for the pouches of your utility belt.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Random Cover Friday

Robin #20, September 1995.

Story by Chuck Dixon, art by Mike Weiringo and Stan Woch.

In which Robin wrestles with a circus lion named Nero, does great battle with a child named the General and a guy in a toga named Hadrian (who naturally is associated with Maxie Zeus), and then returns home in the wee hours to find his girlfriend Arianna hiding in his bedroom.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

To Infinity and Beyond

From March 1984 comes today's selection, Infinity, Inc. #1, brought to you by the creative team of writer Roy Thomas and arts/co-designers Jerry Ordway and Mike Machlan.

It's Christmas Eve 1983 (I guess Ma Hunkle was still MIA back then, but couldn't someone have slapped a wreath up on the building?), on Earth 2 and Hawkman has called an emergency meeting of the Justice Society of America. Everyone's there except Superman and Sandman (Wesley Dodd's had recently suffered a stroke), but before Hawkman can explain why they are gathered they are interrupted by four upstart new heroes who burst in, clamouring for membership.

Holy bad parenting, Batman...all four of these "new" heroes have ties to family ties to members of the League. For college kids, I thought they were sort of unreasonable to their parents (sure, in high school, kids can be a little mean to their moms and dads, but by college, you hope this will be settled was for me, anyway...), but I suppose that was largely colored by the bad attitude of the Silver Scarab, aka, Hector Hall, child of Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Between super-heroing and archaeology, the Hawks were apparently absent parents...and Hec pretty seriously resents his latchkey childhood.

Anyway, the Society ask the kids to wait in an adjacent room, while they have some discussion about whether or not to admit the younger generation. While they wait, the kids reflect on their origins.

The blonde with the the wierd red and gold costume and head-piece (is it a hat, a crown...some sort of modern tiara?!) is Lyta Trevor, daughter of Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor, who's dating Hector and has chosen the name Fury for her superhero identity. She mentions her meeting with the Earth One Wonder Woman as one of the things that encouraged her to finally step up to the hero business (remember when they met in WW #300? No? You should read yesterday's review for the through-line).

One of the other two heroes is Nuklon, who's the godchild of golden age Atom, Al Pratt, who is over seven feet tall and endowed with great strength, as a result of his one-time villain grandfather's experiments against the All-Star Squadron back in World War II.

The fourth member is Norda, using the codename Northwing, who hails from Feithera, a mystical city which the Hawks discovered during their early hero careers, populated by a human-like race of bird people(I really can't explain it any better than that!). His father was an anthropologist whom Hawkman brought to Feithera to study the culture. Hector really has some attitude about Norda, since he resents the attention of the Hawks.

Anyway...the JSA open the doors and announce their decision in the negative (never mentioning that the vote was nearly a tie), which is when two more young heroes show up, showing off new abilities.

Despite their claim that Green Lantern is their dad, neither Jade nor Obsidian are welcomed into the Society...and the kids go off to sulk and scheme. The JSA's younger and most-recently-added members, Power Girl and Huntress go after the kids to talk to them...and to think some about the old-ster attitudes of their fellow JSAers.

Of course, the Brainwave bursts into JSA headquarters on the last page for a cliff-hanger.

This was an interesting first issue, although the kids have not yet come up with the idea for their own team here, nor even the name in the title. It's also strange that Brainwave Junior (the guy in red with the blue goggles) is featured on the cover while Fury and Northwing are not, since he doesn't appear in the series until the second issue, at least. By the time of their debut, we had also already seen this team, when they traveled into the past to meet the All-Stars of WW II.

On another note, this was one of like four experimental books at the time, featuring a new reproduction method which I believe was called The Baxter Process, or perhaps that was the kind of paper they were using. I know I shied away from these titles for a little while due to the higher cover price (can you imagine, that there was a time when we thought $1.25 was too much to pay for a comic book?)...but eventually, the new art reproduction won me over...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What Dreams May Come...

The Wonder Wednesday festivities return this week, as we take a look at issue #300 of Wonder Woman, volume one, from February 1983 (just a few months before I graduated from high school, for those who are keeping track...).

And what a celebration this issue is, kicking off in fine style with a fantastic, wrap-around cover by Dick Giordano and George Perez.

Our wonder epic, by Roy and Danette Thomas, begins in a dark alley in Washington DC, at 3 a.m. Our heroine is facing off against a large, shadowy and shapeless creature, one which has been terrorizing her in dreams all week. But now it's taken physical form and Diana's fighting a loosing battle against the thing.

By the way, a host a wonderful artists provided their bit for this anniversary spectacular. The framing sequence is penciled by Gene Colon, the regular artist on the title at the time.

She's about to be hurled against a wall when a red and gold clad figure appears from the shadows and catches her, as the monster vanishes in the glow of a street lamp.

The mystery man is the Kirby version of the Sandman. He explains to Diana that during his duties of monitoring the Dream Dimension, he became aware of her nightmares and sleepwalking. He's very troubled that the creature of Diana's dreams is taking real form.

Diana is grateful to Sandman for his intervention, but a little non-plussed by the fawning comments he makes about her beauty. She admits that she's been feeling a lot of pressure about her job and from the man she loves. The Sandman suggests she should change the job..."or the man."

Diana points out its not really Sandman's business and they part company, as she dashes through the early morning streets of the nation's capitol, returning to the apartment she (as Lt. Diana Prince, USAF) shares with Etta Candy just before her roomie wakes up, but not soon enough to get the two of them to work on time.

Both Etta and D.P. are called into General Darnell's office, assuming they are to be berated for their lateness, but Diana is awarded a promotion to Major, with a promise that she may even be a colonel if the paperwork has gone through by the time she and Steve Trevor are to return from the upcoming Arms Talks she and Trevor are to attend in Mexico.

For Colonel Trevor's part, his ego seems to have been hurt by Di's promotion and when she calls him on thinking she got the promotion because she was a woman, he denies it, saying he's never really thought of her as a woman at all. (OMG!! Of all the stupid man things to say...) Naturally, she storms off.

But she realizes her recent lack of sleep from the nightmares has her on edge, and thinks Steve might not be deserving of the full anger she's feeling. She changes to Wonder Woman and summons the invisible jet, thinking to catch a cat-nap at 40,000 feet to restore her.

As her eyes close, the monster from her dreams reappears and attacks the jet. She begins defensive maneuvers to throw off the thing and swoops away, to return to the ground...only to discover that she's on a collision course with the Washington Monument. Believing she won't be able to get clear, she's surprised when a golden lasso catches the nose of her plane and lifts it above the monument...

...which is about when our Diana realizes she's broken the barrier between dimensions and found herself on Earth-Two, face to face with her parallel doppleganger, Wonder Woman. This segment of the story's art is capably handled by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano.

The two have met once before and are happy to catch up a little. But Diana is a little surprised by how the E2 Wonder Woman's life has turned out. She has long ago revealed her secret identity...and married her Steve Trevor.

"I know I once said I'd never marry him until all evil was vanquished from the world...but not even an Amazon can wait that long."

This other Steve Trevor insists this second (to him) Wonder Woman to stay for dinner before returning to her Earth. As they tour the Trevors' home, Diana meets her doppleganger's daughter, Lyta...who asks if this second Wonder Woman will stay to help her train, as she hopes to take over being Wonder Woman from her mother.

Diana does stay for dinner and her visit offers her some interesting perspective on her own life. She returns to Earth One in time to catch up with Steve at a twilight launching of a new nuclear submarine. Of course, there's a terrorist sniper to spoil the launch festivities, but she and Steve work together to make short work of the guy...and she carries Steve off to a nearby rooftop and says that if he still wants to marry her, she's ready.

He's flabbergasted, but thrilled...and even a little surprised that she wants to be married in just a few weeks, on Paradise Island. Even though we know this Wonder Woman never met Mindy Mayer, it's clear she has a hot publicist, as the next day, as the gang is headed to the talks in Mexico, Etta is reading a newspaper with the headline WEDDING BELLS FOR WONDER WOMAN!

Di is a little cool on the subject when Etta mentions it. Trevor overhears and thinks that it will probably be best for Diana Prince to get over him, now that he's marrying Wonder Woman, so she can find a nice guy and settled down. And then the radio message comes, advising them of a bomb hidden in the briefcase of top secret documents handcuffed to Diana's wrist.

She makes a show of being heroic, grabbing a parachute and leaping from the plane before anyone can stop her...and the bomb explodes, "killing" Diana Prince.

We get to see her funeral next and Wonder Woman even shows up to offer a few kind words. She's moved by just how upset her friends are at Diana's passing...but suggests to Steve that Diana wouldn't have wanted them to delay the wedding on her account.

After everyone's departed, the Sandman makes a return appearance. Diana's a little pissed that he knows from her dreams that she and D.P. were one in the same. He offers to tell her his own origins and how he came to live in the Dream Dimension, as a way of building trust. This segment, flashing back to the five issues of the Sandman's own title, are well-drawn by Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt.

I won't recap his origin here, since it really does feel like a bit of a pause in the longer story...with no focus whatsover on Wonder Woman...but his back story is helpful for those of us who weren't at all familiar with the character. Essentially, he's trapped in the Dream Dimension and rides herd on the wild creatures who live there and inhabit our dreams.

And as it turns out, he's totally got a thing for Wonder Woman and even tells her that he loves her, and that if she would join him in the dream dimension, he would be totally happy. She brushes him off, saying that she feels gratitude for his help and sorrow for his situation...but not love. He leaves, but say's he'll be back when she needs him.

Now Diana travels to Paradise Island, where she is thrilled that the first wedding gifts have begun to arrive...but she quickly falls asleep, slumped in her mother's pillowed throne...and she dreams.

Here the art shifts to that of Jan Duursema and Tom Mandrake, as we see her familiar origin story play out: the crash of Trevor's plane, the rescue, her competition against her friend Mala, winning the tournament. And then, late in the night, Hippolyta prays to the goddesses, afraid for her daughter to be taken away from the magical protections of immortality of Paradise Island. And the gods show her the only way to keep Diana at home, which is to die.

Diana ascends to the throne, sending Mala in her stead to return the man she's already fallen in love with back to Man's World. Wonder Woman awakens, seeing the shadow-thing receding into the shadows of the Throne Room. She wakes her mother to talk about her dream problems...and Hippolyta suggests Diana might go look at the platform which is being constructed off shore, where the Wedding will take place.

She does, and then sits down on the beach, falling quickly into another uneasy slumber, as Dick Giordano takes the art reigns for this tale of "The Princess and the Sky Pirate", in which the man who crashes offshore of Paradise is a criminal named Trevor Stevens. Diana still falls for him and leaves the island with him when his flirting reminds the Queen of the silver-tongued Hercules. It isn't until they arrive in Man's World and Stevens kills a number of policemen that Diana realizes the error of her ways.

She wakes again, after yet another appearance by the Shadow Thing, and decides to hand deliver some wedding invitations to the Justice League satellite. Superman meets her there, congratulating her with a kiss, but gently chiding her that she'd not let him break the nuptial news story.

As Diana is about to re-enter Earth's atmosphere, she dozes off again, this time re-imagining her origin with Kal-El as the man who crash lands off the shores of Paradise. Rich Buckler does the pretty pictures here, as we see the story of a super marriage that can't last, it's two participants regularly torn away from one another to fight crime or rescue the world in some way or another.

(There is an amusing sequence on their honeymoon where Super husband and wife are stopping up a this ever really a good idea?...and some hot lava splashes on Diana and burns away her costume.)

Diana returns from slumberland to discover the invisible jet has automatically returned to Paradise Island...and she has a few minutes of consciousness to call Steve. He's a little bummed that the Arms Talks have gone poorly...and he admits he hasn't had a moment to think about the wedding.

Their call is cut-off, or he hangs up, and she realizes she's not thought about much else besides the wedding...but she just can't stay awake.

This last dream sequence is handled, art-wise, by Keith Pollard, and we see the old story, but this time with a petulant, man-hating superior Wonder Woman returning Steve Trevor to Man's World. She makes short work of some criminals, but cuts off Steve's praise, saying he'll find she's an "avenging angel", if anything.

It's not long before she's selected Mount Rushmore as her headquarters--after she's made a few improvements--and only a short time later when Steve and some other officers try to stop her from getting the President to abandon his office in the White House to her. A game of bullets and bracelets goes wrong, and Trevor is killed, his dying words "how could I...have cared...for someone with so much...hatred inside her..." touching this cold-hearted Diana. She admits he was the only man she cared for...and now she's a fugitive for his murder.

She wakes up quickly from this one, and thank goodness, as the guests and the Groom are waiting for her on the Wedding Platform. As Diana arrives, in costume but with a white cape and pink roses in her hair, Trevor asks the reverend (what, gods-worshipping Diana will be married by a Christian preacher?!...oh the things we ignored in the early 80s...)if he may speak to the bride before they begin. The preacher harumphs that they are already late...and the ceremony begins.

Diana has said her "I Do", but Trevor says No instead, to gasps of shock and surprise. As the guests murmur to themselves, the bride and groom go off quietly to talk, unaware they are being watched from the Dream Dimension.

Steve admits that he has begun to realize what deep feelings he had for Diana Prince, now that she's died...and that until he's figured out how he could be in love with her, it doesn't feel right to marry Wonder Woman. Diana tries to tell him the truth, but realizes that her having kept the secret of D.P. for so long will only hurt him more...and he returns to Mans World.

Diana throws herself down onto the beach sand, her tears flowing even as she chides herself for acting like someone in a Rock Hudson-Doris Day film...and then the Sandman appears, trying to soothe her tears...and sprinkling some of his sleeping sand on her, as he carries her off to the Dream Dimension. As he shows her around, he tells her how happy they will be here...

...and then the Shadow Thing returns to attack one last time. Finally fed up, Wonder Woman attacks it full on, as Sandman warns that the Thing might have the power to kill her here. But she manages to lasso it, and commands it to explain why it torments her. The shadow-thing changes shape, becoming a dark silhouette of Wonder Woman herself...and confesses that it represents her fears, her self-loathing, "your Death wish"...but now that it stands revealed, it dissapates and the lasso drops to the ground.

The Sandman apologizes, saying that he knew all along the secret of the Shadow Thing. He hadn't told her in hopes she would seek comfort and protection in the Dream Dimension, to keep him from his loneliness...but he knows she loves Steve Trevor and counsels her to give her man time and wishes her well.

And here's Diana's (and Diana Prince's) happy ending:

All in all, this was a really terrific anniversary celebration and one I enjoyed re-reading as much as I enjoyed reading the first bunch of times when it came out.

While I've always been a huge fan of George Perez's WW reboot, there's a stilted business about the newly-arrived princess' careful speech which simply wasn't an issue in the early Eighties, when she'd been around for long enough that familiarity with Rock Hudson and Doris Day movies and comments like "bum a meal" didn't sound completely foreign coming out of her mouth. Actually, she took pretty quickly to Man's World when she arrived the first time back during WWII, as well. This Wonder Woman-as-immigrant thing is definitely a modern convention.

While this pre-Crisis Wonder Woman still had some antiquated ideas about men, at least she was comfortable enough in her adopted world to sound like she was a part of it...and not some strange visitor. I think this comfort in her own skin and her world is one of the things I like best about Gail Simone's take on the character.

Whew...thanks for joining me, if you've lasted all the way to the bottom of this recap. It's been fun to share with you!